McDaniel campaign files legal challenge to June 24 runoff - - Jackson, MS

McDaniel campaign files legal challenge to June 24 runoff

JONES COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The Chris McDaniel campaign has filed a legal challenge to the June 24 runoff election against U.S. Senator Thad Cochran. McDaniel and lead attorney Mitch Tyner filed the challenge in Jones County Thursday afternoon, McDaniel's home county.

Mississippi College law professor Matt Steffey says it may have been filed in McDaniel's home county but that really doesn't matter.

"They could file it anywhere and the result would be the same," said Steffey. "And that is it would be transmitted to the Supreme Court. And the Supreme Court would pick a senior status judge, a judge not involved in any of these locales to hear the matter."

The Chief Justice will be the one who appoints that judge. McDaniel's asking the court for an emergency hearing. He wants the judge to order a hold on Cochran as the party nominee, until his case can be heard.

They single out Hinds County as being the worst offender of not protecting the integrity of the vote. The filing says McDaniel is the clear nominee if Hinds and other fraud-filled counties' results are thrown out from the statewide count.

"The idea is to do this on a very fast track and impartial basis," explained Steffey.

If the court won't declare McDaniel winner, his attorneys would want a new runoff election. Millsaps College professor Kenneth Townsend believes this case signals a deeper issue.

"I think that what you're seeing with this is a continued split in the Republican party you've got the diehard who are still loyally supporting McDaniel," Townsend described. "But each day that this goes on I can't help but think that a lot of Democrats are probably smiling pretty big."

Townsend anticipates those feelings will stick around for the general election.

"Short-term results though, I think that what you will see is lower voter turnout among Republicans," said Townsend. "I'm not sure that you're going to see a lot of Republicans going to vote for Democrats in November. You might have some but I think you're going to have lower voter turnout among Republicans."

Cochran defeated McDaniel by more than 7,000 votes in the runoff, but McDaniel is alleging voting irregularities in several counties and has more than 300 pages of documentation to back up his claim.

The Cochran campaign released the following statement after McDaniel filed his challenge:

"After many weeks of posturing and press conferences, and political stunts, we have finally reached the point where this matter will be settled by the courts. As we said last week, we look forward to holding the McDaniel campaign to the burden of proof that the law requires and defending the votes of the majority of Mississippians who elected Senator Cochran as the Republican nominee."

In his petition, McDaniel asks for an injunction to stop certification of Senator Cochran as the party nominee, and to stop Cochran's name from going on the November ballot.

McDaniel is also asking the court to throw out the entire vote in Hinds County, and other counties that permitted widespread voter fraud.

McDaniel says that when these votes are removed from the statewide count, it will be clear that he is the nominee elected by the majority of lawful Republican Party voters.

You can read McDaniel's full petition here.

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